Why Is There a JDM Toyota Crown at a Random Dealership in Ohio?

The Toyota Crown is a longstanding big sedan commonly sold to “mature” Japanese businessmen, or old people, basically.

I live about a half-mile from a strip of car dealerships, some good, some not. While out and about, getting a cup of hot milk and sugar from my local Starbucks, I spied a car on a pedestal towering over traffic. I thought it was a Lexus ES, but why would someone put that old car on such a prominent display? I pulled over to look closer at the car. The proportions were off to be a Lexus, namely, the car was narrower than all of the Lexuses (Lexii?) I knew.

Why Is There a JDM Toyota Crown at a Random Dealership in Ohio?
Image: Kevin Williams

Then, I realized what it was: A Toyota Crown. Specifically, a Toyota Crown Royal Saloon.  What the hell is it doing in Ohio?

Why Is There a JDM Toyota Crown at a Random Dealership in Ohio?
Image: Kevin Williams Kevin Williams

The Toyota Crown is a longstanding big sedan commonly sold to “mature” Japanese businessmen, or old people, basically. They’re conservatively styled, softly sprung, easy to use – basically Japan’s version of a Lincoln Town Car. The Crown had its platform variants, like the Chaser, Cresta, and Mark II, which were pitched as cheaper or sportier variants. The nicest Crown, the Crown Majesta, is sort of a Narrow-body version of the U.S. market Lexus LS400. 

Why Is There a JDM Toyota Crown at a Random Dealership in Ohio?
Image: Kevin Williams

The Crown’s boring and stodgy image shouldn’t inspire any enthusiast’s heart to get pumping, right? Wrong. The Crown’s got a god-tier engine, the Toyota JZ series engine. The 1JZ (2.5-liter) and 2JZ (3.0-liter) were both options in the Crown. The Crown’s rear-wheel-drive layout and big straight six-engine make it desirable to drift racers and other racers looking for a rear-wheel-drive car with an engine that can be modded to make lots of power.

This 1994 Toyota Crown has done about 75,000 kilometers, or about 46,000 miles. The car is clean inside, paperwork is ready to go – already imported. They’ve even already swapped over the JDM radio (which won’t work here in the US) to a nice Bluetooth touchscreen unit.

Why Is There a JDM Toyota Crown at a Random Dealership in Ohio?
Image: Facebook Marketplace screenshot

Unfortunately, this car looks like it didn’t get the 1JZ or 2JZ engine, and instead appears that this car has the base model 1G-FE engine. This 2.0-liter straight-six engine is no doubt smoother than a comparable four-cylinder, but it was only rated for 135 horsepower. Still, it’s a somewhat light rear-wheel-drive sedan straight from Japan. That engine could easily be replaced with a 2JZ from a US-market Supra or Lexus SC. Or, you could enjoy it as is.

Why Is There a JDM Toyota Crown at a Random Dealership in Ohio?
Image: Facebook Marketplace screenshot

I guess it’s not so weird to see JDM cars here in Ohio. We do have lots of space and a surprisingly robust car scene. Just awhile back, I rode around in a Suzuki Cappuccino. But still, seeing this thing on a dealer lot kind of blew my mind. Even odder is the fact that the seller doesn’t seem to want to sell it. Or talk to me at atll… I’ve reached out a couple of times, trying to get more information as to how and why this car got here, but he hasn’t responded! As of this writing, the ad is still up.

If you’re looking for a car with an old-school Japanese businessman vibe, maybe this 1994 Toyota Crown is for you. 

Kevin Williams

Kevin WilliamsKevin's been into cars his entire life, anything from the tiny kei cars in Japan, to the maybe not-so-good American barges of the 1980s. He's flipped more than 25 cars, only lost money twice, and has known how to make his dollar stretch as far as it can. If he ain't talking about cars, he's probably snacking on something sweet and cakey. Contact the author here.